Not Just Another Triathlon Season

by Johan Stofberg
groovekorea (

Looking back at this time last year, I definitely did not expect 2015 to be a season where I would stand on a podium after a triathlon race. I hadn’t even been in the sport for more than six months before that, but the year played out way differently and better than I projected, and I even qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships taking place on September 4 this year.

I am super excited for this year’s triathlon training and the races lying ahead. With a fairly long winter behind us, most training was done indoors. Some of these sessions included strength workouts in the gym and many run and cycling interval sessions on the treadmill and bicycle – alternating between going fast and slow. This has trained my body to recover faster while being active, which is especially important for longer distance events. Those who have done cycling on a trainer during these cold months will know that it’s not the most enjoyable environment looking at the same four walls while burning a sweat and not moving forward an inch.

Going into my official second season of triathlon, my focus now will be even more on the little things like technique and form and how to race at my full potential. I can already see the benefits in my training after working on these aspects during the off-season. Although I was not able to test my fitness levels in a race these last couple of months, I believe the good training that I’ve done will pay off well. For one thing, by using my watch and heart rate monitor, I am able to see that I’m running faster at a lower heart rate which is definitely a good sign. The core focus of doing this sport, however, will stay the same…having fun and pushing my body to its limits.

I’ve set my goals and am ready to overcome my own limitations by pushing my body and mind beyond its boundaries. I see this year as another stepping-stone to learn more about the sport and work on every aspect to mature as a triathlete. It’s an ambition of mine to do this sport full time in the future and therefore it is important to approach every training session and race wholeheartedly.

Moving on to the races for this year, the most important one (my A-race) will be the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba, Australia. Over 2,000 athletes from all over the world will join together to test themselves against the course and each other. I honestly feel privileged to be able to compete in such an event after being in this sport for only just over a year. I will be able to measure myself against some of the top triathletes in the world and am looking forward to seeing how this adrenaline rush will influence my performance. Grabbing the opportunity to both perform at my best and build experience will be a huge aid for the future.

Concerning other races, I will compete in a couple of Olympic distance and Half Ironman distance events to make sure I’m fully prepared for the race Down Under. All of them are in South Korea, part of either the Korean Triathlon Federation (KTF) series, the Korean Triathlon Association (KTA) series or Ironman. Since I won gold for both the KTF and KTA series last year, I will do my best to finish on top again in the season to come. I see every one of these races as an opportunity to learn from my and other athletes’ mistakes and successes, and then use that to improve my own performance. The bigger of these races, which recommend signing up for, include the ones in Daegu (May), Sokcho (July) and Gunsan (July).

One of the big challenges I see myself facing is to keep training the way I did the past couple of months and increasing the hours as the season progresses. Putting in an average of 12 to 14 hours a week accompanied by a full time job puts a lot of stress on my body. This stress influences my training by making me more tired during the sessions,m thus I’m sometimes not able to execute my goals as planned.

Another obstacle that might arise in my subconscious is overthinking my performance during a race. After having a great year in 2015, it can be easy to only think about the end result of a race and forget about the little things I need to do right – getting my wetsuit off after the swim, putting on my bike helmet quickly, my body position while running. These are just some of the things that might throw off your focus when you’re not doing them right. This overthinking might also let you forget about the enjoyment of good competition in the sport.

My main goal for the year is to enjoy every aspect of this sport. I aim to achieve this by training the best I can, having fun while racing and making new friends along the way. I can win every race or compete at the highest level, but if this was without appreciating the journey to its full worth, my hard work would be in vain. If it becomes only about winning and the fun is forgotten, triathlon would be just another job instead of a passionate journey to live out my dream.

Triathlon might seem like an individual sport, but I can testify that the tremendous support I receive from people around me is what plays a massive part in driving me to perform at my best. That is what caused me to achieve a podium spot for almost every race I did last year. So, for me, triathlon is a “team” effort. I am blessed with an amazing wife who supports me massively by cooking healthy food for us daily and encourages me to not give up when the training gets tough. This helps me to stay focused on my training and be able to get enough rest for recovery.

So, if you want to join in on the fun, why not sign up for a race this year? Get some friends to train with you and challenge yourself with an exciting new goal. The triathlon racing season starts on May 1 and runs through summer and fall. Find out more details at these websites: and These websites list almost all of the races in South Korea for the year.

If you’re looking to join a club or find out more about the sport, go to the Seoul Synergy Multisports Talk Facebook page. We are a club in Korea with various nationalities who love to be active and some get together to train weekly. It’s just more fun with a community around you.

For any questions regarding triathlon, you can contact me at

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